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Some Comments on Comments

I wanted to have this post up last week, but a few discussions around the topic with some people made me want to go back and reformulate it a bit.

The idea for this post started because of my last post. I was feeling kind of proud about it. I thought it was one of the more intellectual posts that I've written here. But then, no one really said anything about it. More than that, no one was commenting on it. Not that I want you to think I'm begging for comments, but something about it made me think people would have something to say about it, agreeing or disagreeing.

I mentioned something about it, which sparked a little conversation between me and some people on twitter.

A friend of mine (@joncrowley) says that sometimes when people don't comment it's because you succeeded at getting your point across well. No one has anything to add or disagree with in the post. This could be very true, but even so, perhaps that is something they could have said.

This reminded me of a blog post by another Toronto social media blogger, Dave Fleet, who wrote that Commenting Makes You Sexy. In his post he says that he enjoys getting comments of any sort on his blog because it gives him a chance to interact with and get to know his readers. He gets to know if they like what he writes, if they have something to add or if they disagree with what he has to say.

This is what every blogger should want. Feedback from your audience. That way you get to know what your audience likes that you write about and what they don't. With this information you can then write better for your audience. Seeing your posts get so many clicks is one way bloggers can know if their material is being well received, but it's not the the feed back of the actual words.

On the topic of click numbers, a former teacher and current friend of mine, Karen Snider, said that comments aren't the only measurement for blogs, and she's absolutely right. There all sorts of different types of measurement.

This topic also came up in Danny Brown's blog last week, The Metrics of Social Media. In the post he listed some ways in which companies can start measuring the success of their social media campaigns. Some examples I first picked out were things like "likes on facebook" or "views on youtube", and how these numbers also related to sales. Down in the comments though, began a great discussion of what ROI in social media means and how different measurements mean different things for different campaigns. I brought up the topic of public sentiment and we discussed how both a mix of sentiment and other numbers can be put together to find success (or to find out what doesn't work).

Again this is true. Especially when we're dealing with companies who are ultimately trying to turn their social media efforts into actual sales. The more numbers they have to look at, the more they can find out what their public really responds to and constantly improve to reach them better. These are the number they can gather both through analyzing sentiment and other web analytics.

In the end I came to the conclusion that comments can mean different things to different people. But they seem to come around to the same thing; gathering sentiment. Both companies and bloggers like to know what their publics think of what they are doing. This way they can both better get to know and improve for their audiences.

While comments are not everything, they are helpful and always good to see.

Any comments?

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